Blackpool come down to earth while Newcastle run rampant over a misfiring Aston Villa. Meanwhile, United stumble at Fulham and West Brom get their first win of the season. Week two was a peach, and the recaps now include point expectancy charts. I'm sure you're all thrilled about that.
Blackpool 0-6 Arsenal
Coverage: The Short Fuse (Arsenal)
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has said he's not going to change his team's attacking style, no matter who the opponent. That he wasn't bluffing was made abundantly clear, as Blackpool joined Barcelona in being the only two teams to have tried to play an expansive game against the north Londoners. Unfortunately for the Tangerines, their quality doesn't match up to Barca's standard, and they were deservedly thrashed by Arsenal at the Emirates, Theo Walcott scoring three in an excellent display. Although Blackpool created a few chances, going down 1-0 inside the first 15 minutes and then having a man sent off later in the first half meant that a thrashing by the home team was never in doubt. Blackpool never expected to win, but one has to wonder if their playing an all-out attack against top Premier League teams is bravery or idiocy.
"An absolute education. I was relieved it wasn't 10, 12, 13, 14."
-Ian Holloway, Blackpool manager
Wait until you play against us!
Chart after the jump.
Sunderland 0-1 West Bromwich Albion
Newly promoted Albion dominated Sunderland, who were dire throughout. However, the Baggies's distinct lack of a cutting edge meant than control of most of the pitch counted for very little until Peter Odemwingie popped up to score in the 81st minute, atoning for blowing a one-on-one chance much earlier in the game. Chris Brunt rattled the bar a few minutes latter for Roberto di Matteo's side, who looked much more impressive at home against the Black Cats than they did on their expedition to Stamford Bridge. Sunderland, on the other hand, have never been great away, and looked asleep all game despite Steve Bruce giving his side the hairdryer treatment at the half.
"In the first half, we have to be honest and say we were simply not good enough."
They weren't good enough in the second half either. Although honesty isn't required in minutes 45 to 90.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Stoke City
A hugely controversial finish marred an exciting game, as Stoke had an equaliser wrongly ignored in the dying seconds of the game when debutant Jonathan Walters headed the ball against Peter Crouch's chest - on the wrong side of the line, from Tottenham's point of view. However, the goal wasn't given, which meant that Gareth Bale's spectacular volley half an hour in won the game for Spurs. Bale has been on astonishing form lately, and also scored the opener in more fluky fashion as a clearance hit him in the face and bounced over the line. Tottenham's goals sandwiched a scrappy strike by Ricardo Fuller, but Stoke never looked terribly dangerous against a makeshift Spurs side.
"Using technology would only take a minute and if you had two goals in a game that is only a couple of minutes."
-Tony Pullis, Stoke manager.
It's an interesting debate - stoppage time for disputed goals would almost certainly be less than for players requiring treatment on the field.
Bolton 3-1 West Ham
West Ham seemed well on their way to purging the demons of their opening game at Villa Park, playing (relatively) well against a poor Bolton side. When Carlton Cole stepped up to take a 33rd minute penalty, all seemed well, but with an abominable effort from the England hopeful, things fell apart at Upton Park. An own goal after the break by Matthew Upson (admittedly, he was being kicked in the face at the time) set Bolton on their way, and it was 2-0 by the time West Ham got on the scoresheet, this time Mark Noble taking the penalty. Johan Elmander bagged a brace for the Trotters, his second strike sealing the points for Owen Coyle's side.
I'm very happy with the performance. I am very disappointed with the result.
-Avram Grant, West Ham manager.
Avram Grant admits having hilariously low expectations.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Everton
Coverage: Royal Blue Mersey (Everton)
Everton squandered a Tim Cahill goal just before the stroke of halftime to let Wolves scrape a draw at Goodison Park. The Toffees should have been up by far more following a first half in which they completely dominated, but Wolves came back to harry the Everton midfield throughout the second half, and were good money for their equaliser, when in the 74th minute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake converted an easy tap-in following a reckless giveaway by Louis Saha in the Wolverhampton half. Both sides will feel that refereeing decisions went against them, but in truth everything more or less evened out.
"I thought it was a foul on Jody at first. But I'm not so confident now so I've apologised to Lee Mason because I had a right whinge at him at half-time."
-Wolves manager Mick McCarthy
Nice to see a manager apologising for giving the referee a hard time.
Blackburn 1-2 Birmingham City
Ben Foster made himself welcome at Birmingham with a match-winning performance against Blackburn, who more or less dominated the whole match. It took a penalty miss and then two quick goals by Craig Gardner to bring Birmingham back from 1-0 down, but Foster really was the key man as he made a string of saves to keep his team in the game. Blackburn should be pleased at the strong showing on the road, but Birmingham might be a little worried, as their team is based around defensive solidarity and Foster is not the sort of goalkeeper to be leaned on to such an extent.
That's what good goalkeepers do for you, good goalkeepers win you points.
Sam Allardyce, Blackburn boss.
A little known region of Allardyce's coaching beliefs holds that good midfielders win you cabbages, while bad defenders cost pints of beer.
Aston Villa 0-6 Newcastle
Coverage: 7500 to Holte (Villa)
This was a good demonstration of the frailties of the 4-4-2 and what tactical inflexibility can do to a team. With the loss of James Milner to Manchester City, Stephen Ireland slotted in at the centre of midfield in front of Stiliyan Petrov, Villa's shape otherwise unchanged. In the very early going, Villa were ascendant, with Ashley Young particularly dangerous, but John Carew missed a ninth minute penalty and afterwards Newcastle were rampant. Villa had no answer in midfield to the trio of Alan Smith, Joey Barton, and Kevin Nolan. This was a surprising 6-0 result, but thoroughly deserved, and Kevin MacDonald must surely be out of the running for long-term Villa boss.
"Maybe it was too much for our young lads."
-Kevin MacDonald, Villa's caretaker manager.
What MacDonald apparently hasn't realised is that his team selection went wrong when he picked a four man midfield to play against Newcastle's five, not when he put Marc Albrighton on the wing (he was later replaced by Emile Heskey, which was... odd).
Manchester United 2-2 Fulham
Coverage: The Busby Babe (United), Cottagers Confidential (Fulham)
Manchester United have not had much success in their travels to Craven Cottage lately, but they started brightly on Sunday and grabbed an early lead thanks to a Paul Scholes long-range effort past an unsighted David Stockdale. They could have pressed for more, but instead took their foot off the gas, allowing Fulham's midfield to come into -and eventually dominate - the game. The Cottagers would have equalised in the 31st minute but for a wonderful save by Edwin van der Sar, but the United goalkeeper was helpless when Bobby Zamora cut the ball back for Simon Davies in the second half, following good work by Damien Duff down the right wing. At 1-1, the game might have petered out, but the last ten minutes saw Brede Hangeland first put the ball into his own net and then score a last ditch goal at the other end. It was an astonishing sequence of play made all the more bizarre by Manchester United missing a penalty, Nani the culprit after Duff had handled the ball in the box. The game ended up 2-2, and was probably the most compelling match of the year so far.
"When we got that second goal I thought: 'We've escaped here.'"
-Sir Alex Ferguson
Mwa mwa mwaaaaa.
Liverpool 0-3 Manchester City
Coverage: Bitter and Blue (City)
Liverpool were played off the pitch by a dominant Manchester City, who battered the Reds in midfield and scored three well-deserved goals. Keeper Joe Hart wasn't required to secure the points, although his double save against David Ngog and Fernando Torres at 2-0 in the second half was important. James Milner made his debut for City and was extremely impressive against Glen Johnson on the Liverpool right, but the most important aspect of the game for me was how City's defensive shield annihilated every major Liverpool attack in the first half. The visitors dallied on the ball for far too long in the centre on the pitch and let themselves be swarmed by blue shirts (Torres, who looked rusty, was a major culprit), and this allowed City to move the ball up the field quickly and run at the Liverpool defence. Shockingly poor play by Roy Hodgson's side, and the first three goal loss in a long while for the Reds. Meanwhile, City show that their 4-3-3 can and does work, and the result will be raising some warning flags for Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United near the top of the table - although they won't be getting three goals from three shots on target very often in the future.